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Bacillus Thuringiensis "Two-in-One"
March 14, 2006 15:19

International research group, including Russian, American and Uzbek scientists, have created Bacillus thuringiensis bacterial strain, which effectively kills various agricultural pests: butterflies, bugs, aphids, mites and thrips. Said strain is not genetically modified, it's a product of selection. Scientists expect new bacteria to serve as a good basis for new generation of pluripotential industrial bioproducts.

Biological pest control tends to replace traditional chemicals. New products are based on viruses, fungi and bacteria. Various strains of Bacillus thuringiensis are most widely used anti-pest bacterial products. Said microorganisms under certain conditions excrete protein crystals - endotoxins, which have various effect on insects. For example, some endotoxins and bioinsecticides Dipel (USA) and Lepidocyde (Russia), based on these proteins, kill various butterflies, but do not do any harm to bugs. Other Bacillus strains excrete endotoxins, which kill bugs. But American insecticide Novodor and Russian agent Colorado, containing the latter proteins, are unable to fight worms and butterflies. Scientists have suggested crossing various Bacillus thuringiensis strains in order to create hybrid strain, able to synthesize both endotoxins.

Scientists cocultivated two Bacillus strains and succeeded in getting desired hybrid, containing DNA, necessary for synthesis of both endotoxins. They tested new strain on gypsy moth and flour moth worms, and on flour beetle and Colorado potato beetle worms. Worms received food, containing endotoxins and Bacillus spores, for several days. New strain appeared to be several times more effective in killing beetles, than parent strain, but a little less effective in killing moths (flour moth worms' death rate didn't exceed 26%, and gypsy moth worms' death rate was 58%).

Moreover, new Bacillus strain kills sucking insects: melon aphids, spider mites and western European thripses - their death rate was 59, and 53% respectively.

Scientists have also performed field studies. They sprayed strain suspension on fields, infested with aphids and thripses. Field studies showed that new Bacillus thuringiensis strain VKPM B-8715 is as toxic for aphids and thripses, harmful pests of cotton, rose and tobacco, as Karbofos chemical is. Moreover, unlike, Karbofos, VKPM B-8715 is harmless for endotherms and useful insects. Many pests are now resistant to chemicals, thus bioinsecticide can play an essential role. Anyway, scientists lay high hopes on this strain.

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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